Chapter One: Strain

This has become a routine. Steve Rogers is a man of habit if nothing else, something he has often been commended for. Consistency. It's what one needs when one is in the line of work he is—to know exactly what's right and what's wrong, a solid idea of what it is. This doesn't mean—as many make the mistake of assuming—that he is someone who sees everything as either black or white. Despite what the others may think of him sometimes he is not naïve.

And that's why—if-when this thing passes…

"Cap?" the small woman asks, and he looks up. Distracted. Disoriented. That's not like him. She notices.

He offers her a forced half-smile.

"Well. I'm ready for our date."

...

It is his duty as leader of the Avengers that he visit the prisoners, but even he considers it odd that he has been requested to visit this particular prisoner as often. He is the only one that can get him to talk apparently. The thought makes him slightly nauseous.

The doors open slowly, and he catches sight of Loki, strapped to a chair in the center of the room, every limb bound, his neck held in a rigid position by the collar holding him in place.

He looks like fucking royalty.

Steve approaches him, as usual, nervously, not because he is scared of him, but because of The Eyes, watching him every step of the way, and of The Ears.

Loki's smile is slight and not for the first time has he noticed how much better Loki looks when he's smiling.

"I've missed you, Captain." Comes the drawled, smug greeting and Steve finds himself grinning slightly as well.

But then he remembers of course. He sets his mouth back into a frown and takes his usual seat in the small white chair across from him, leaning forward.

"They say you might have some more information on Victor von Doom?" he replies without preamble.

Loki pouts. "No Hello, Loki. How have you been keeping? How very unlike you, Steven."

Steve closes his eyes. It's true. Normally, he keeps himself polite before interrogating.

"Something on your mind, dear Captain?" he asks, the slightest hint of mirth, tinting his voice.

"Doom. Government property. The killings in Albania. Oh, and let's not forget what you did to my friend Clint."

Loki blinks. "Hm. I don't think that's quite it, though." If he could've, Steve imagined the god would be tilting his head to the side like a curious puppy.

All those people. All those fucking children.

"Just tell them what they want, Loki. Please."

Loki raises a finely arched brow. "Pleading already? How curiously boring. It must be something very big indeed then." He twitches his lips to the side and gives him an appraising look. "I do hope you aren't in any danger, Steven. I do so enjoy your visits."

He still has that fucking smirk on his face, and he can't. He just can't. Not today.

"We're finished here."

Almost immediately a back door that had been just another part of the wall before opens and two very large men in black suits come out, unbuckling Loki from the chair and pulling him roughly to a stand. He gives Steve a confused look, wetting his lips uncertainly.

"Well, this wasn't any fun, Captain. You're usually much more enjoyable. "

As they lead him away, he notices the marking on his wrists, the bruised flesh seen through his ragged shirt.

He leans his head into his hands. What is his country becoming?

...

"We're coming to you live at the scene as a recent mutant attack has left over a hundred civilians dead, sixty of them elementary schoolchildren…"

a/n: Ok, so I'm mixing movie!Steve with comic!Steve here, trying to show the person he is now and the person he'll eventually become. I have to get to bed now, and I really wish this chapter didn't suck as much ass as it did, but I'll give you more important notes soon. See you then! AX ALL WEEKEND, WOOT! I know the beginning really sucks, but I'm going to try and update longer chapters and stuff sometime this week hopefully, as well as fleshing out the plot some more. And I'm so sorry for the people reading my other stories, and I know I keep saying this, but I should have some more chapters for some of them up soon. I'm having trouble with my muse for some of them...:(